“Get together with any group of runners and it's like a convention of orthopedic surgeons. Long, complex-sounding conditions are referred to and discussed at length. … There is one injury, however, that is spoken about in whispers, often since the inflicted runner no longer makes it to the group runs or track workouts. The condition is known in the medical jargon as proximal hamstring tendinopathy or high hamstring tendinitis and refers to inflammation of the common origin of the three hamstring muscles. To the rest of us it is quite literally a pain in the rear.”
|High hamstring pain at butt bone|
Furthermore, my right piriformis (the short pear-shaped muscle in the middle of the butt cheek) gets so tight that it rubs the sciatic nerve running down the glute and leg, resulting in throbbing and the inability to even sit for more than 10 minutes. These two right-leg injuries follow on the heels of my tamed iliotibial band injury--on my right side as well.
There’s a pattern here: everything is on the right side, and I’ve never had these symptoms before.
Higher Mileage Exposes Postural Problems
Doctors and physical therapists have told me in the past that, although I have very strong hips and legs and healthy knees, things are tight and crooked. Their universal recommendations were to strengthen my core with prescribed exercises and stretch more. As I ramped up my mileage the past couple of years, I kept faithful to core workouts, foam roller work and stretching--but they did little to fight off my new injuries. They were just bandaids over the actual cause: a “postural pattern of asymmetry.”
I was born with my feet sticking straight out--for 3 years.
According to the Postural Restoration Institute, “Running requires the capability of muscles to work together in three biomechanical planes in the back, pelvis and hip. When these three planes are functional, the runner has the ability for muscles to turn ‘on’ and ‘off.’ This allows for reciprocal alternating activity to occur in the back, pelvis, and hip. If control of all three planes is lost, then compensation, fatigue, strain, and injuries will occur.” Learning to breathe properly is key too.
So, Brad has prescribed a rehab routine designed to first restore my pelvis to neutral; then to restore my hips and legs to the normal range of motion; and then to activate muscles that had been rendered lazy from letting other muscles do their share of the work. For example, when I do certain drills that require a right-side glute squeeze, my right quad hijacks it and takes over the action--so the right-side glute needs a re-education.
|My immediate future is far from flowery, but spring will come.|
Three months of no running and two hours per day of boring exercises indoors just sucks. Canceling my races for the rest of the year leaves a big hole. Running is God’s tool to keep me sane, and I miss the trails and friends--but following therapy, my bent frame will be straight and the wheels will roll smoother than ever. In the long run, the discovery of the best PT with solutions to address the root of the problems will result in more durable running. I’ll have to play catchup this winter, but it’s an investment into a better future. The likelihood of actually running faster and longer after the overhaul is strong.
|Hunting season is almost here!|
In the Meantime
If I can't run the trails, I'll at least hike them slowly. It's easy to see more when you aren't running--as in hunting for edible mushrooms. I found this uncommon but tasty hawkswing:
And just the other day I set a PR for fewest bee stings when I harvested 12 pounds of honey from this hive in my yard. If you look closely, you can see some uncapped honey in some of the cells on the right. We let our bees build their own wax comb, rather than give them the kind of artificial frames that the industry uses.
One of the highlights of the summer was when our miniature donkey, Zoe, gave birth to this little guy right after a storm in the middle of the night:
As I finish this blog post with a
pillow under my rear end, I’m toggling every few minutes to the live web
coverage of the Wasatch 100 to shout at the computer screen for my fellow Fort
Collins trail runner Nick Clark.
It looks like he’ll break the national record for the fastest Grand Slam in
trail racing--that is, completing four 100-mile trail races in one summer in the
fastest cumulative time EVER. That kind of feat inspires me to hang in there and see things from the long view.
The high country is calling . . . .
|Another baby born on our place. That's one of our cattle dogs, Zip, on the left.|
The high country is calling . . . .
|Near Big Creek Lakes|